Real Live Troll

Too much traffic to go anywhere and too hot and sunny for picture taking today, besides I couldn’t get past the troll anyway. Crazy as it is, I have a real live troll in my life… blond woman, fat ugly bleached blond chain smoking foul mouthed wretch of a human being about 50 years old with nothing better to do than try to make my life miserable. Only two roads lead to my trailhead which is just two blocks away and she lives right on the one where I have to walk out. There is no other way to walk and she sits and waits for me to come out so she can start cussing me and making threats. Just past her house is an acreage with nothing but forest where people walk their dogs, including her.  On the other side, the national forest and my trails including the one up to Bald Mountain. For a while she was turning me in to the landlord of the campground because my dogs were pooping in the empty woods, along with the deer, the coyotes and the bear and all the other people’s dogs. He also owns the house she lives in and of course does not give a hoot that my dogs and every other animal in the Pike National Forest poop in the woods.

So finally I got wise and no longer walk past her house, I load the doggies in the car and drive to the trailhead. Well one day she noticed that I was doing that and decided to start walking her dogs when I walk mine. So the other day after she started walking her dogs when she saw me get in the truck I took the 4 wheel drive road across so she couldn’t see me and figured she’d be gone when I finished my loop. Well I was wrong, she waited the whole hour so she could block my egress from the trail and pick a fight with me on my way out. I just went around her cross country and now I haven’t been back there since, it just doesn’t seem worth the fight. Noticed she was spying on me this morning when I loaded up for church so I made sure I didn’t go. I have found a new trail and I was sick of that old one anyway after 8 years of hiking it almost every day… but still, what the hell is wrong with people? This is exactly why I vowed never to buy a house or sign a lease again… I have decided that the minute the devil catches up with me I would like to just hit the road. Seriously thinking of just packing up and going boondocking… I mean really seriously, like before winter. But I am torn, because there are people here who need me 😦

Fly Fishing on the PlatteWell anyway, working on some pictures from earlier this summer today… whitewater rafting on the Arkansas and fly fishing on the Platte up at Deckers. I can shoot pictures by the hundreds, but only edit a few a day. Very close to my lifetime quota of tedium so I have to be careful with this computer work!  Thinking I might go out in the evening after it cools off… maybe to Edlowe Road and see if there are any deer venturing out when they are done hiding from this blazing Colorado sun! The new prints, including metal and acrylic glossies, wrapped canvas and traditional art along with a lot of cool gift items can be seen here, and the stock versions of those images can be seen here as well as by clicking on the links to the left of the article.

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography. Additional products include fine art stock imagery, prints and gift items

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Running the Numbers

River running that is! Most summer days are pretty mild here at almost 9,000 feet at the base of 14,115 foot Pikes Peak. However once in a while it becomes apparent just how close Colorado is to the hot desert land of the southwestern United States. Yesterday was one of those days. I have always wanted to explore the Numbers recreation area between Buena Vista and Leadville during rafting season and when the desert heat started to bake Woodland Park by 8:00 a.m. I decided this was the day!

Rafting the NumbersI was getting a bit of a late start, which is a bad thing if you are going to shoot landscapes or wildlife, but for rafting, I figured they wouldn’t really get going until after noon anyway. So I loaded up the doggies for a road trip along with the camera and soon we were rolling west on 24 to the quaint river town of Buena Vista. Once there, the traffic was horrendous, the main road through town was all jacked up with construction cones and I missed my turn down to the river. I know of another access point so I decided to just get the heck out of the mess and go down to the dirt road along the river further north of town.

Well that turned out to be fortuitous because I would discover that the Numbers rapids are actually quite a bit further north than I had imagined. I had tried to explore them one other time a couple of years ago, but at the time my truck was not available and with only a Miata to negotiate the dirt roads I was not too successful! From my known access point I turned north on a one lane jeep road until I found a wide place to park. Hiked down to the water where I discovered another photographer working for one of the adventure photo companies. The rapid she was staking out was #4 and I was not too impressed with the vantage point there so after a bit of chit chat I was back out onto the highway looking for the start of the Numbers.

Finally I saw a sign for the Numbers Recreation Area and turned in. Another one lane road, probably about 20 miles north of Bueni… soon another sign indicated that the put in was only a mile upstream so I decided I didn’t want to get trapped in river company traffic on that one lane road and went back to the bridge and parked, hoping that there would be a hiking trail along the river.

Well there wasn’t exactly a trail on the west side of the Arkansas there, but it is possible to walk along the river and I found a couple of nice spots with a good view of one of the rapids. Not sure which one yet, but it was very close to the beginning of the famed river run. Made my way down to the bank and over a couple of natural rocks steps in the water onto a boulder that was sitting out in the river a bit. Perfect, a seat in the shade, perfect lighting, perfect view of the action and the river upstream! According to the adventure photographer lady, I had about a half hour to kill before the afternoon action was scheduled to begin. Fiddled with my camera a bit to make sure I was going to get good exposures with a shutter speed fast enough for some good stop action. For stock photography, images need to be razor sharp so I wanted shutter speeds of around 1000th and an aperture in the F11 range. A quick check of the histogram indicated that I was going to need to need an exposure bump of a third of a stop.

I had seen the rafting companies going in with vans and buses, so I knew there was going to be a good number of rafts coming through soon and right on cue at about 2:00 p.m. the colorful rafts began drifting past, along with a few batches of kayakers. I also decided to try my hand at shooting a video for my Facebook status updates that I was posting… Pretty easy to do with phones these days! I may make it a habit to do that regularly. Only thing I noticed is that the microphone must be in the front because rather than getting the sound of the river I noticed it sounded more like the water gurgling in the rocks behind me. Need to make a note to check into that.

Well, by 2:30 the action was dying down considerably already so I decided I had what I came for and let the doggies take a splash in the water at the boat access near the bridge before heading for home. All in all I collected about 200 captures so I will be busy processing these for a while! And I feel confidant that I have thoroughly explored the Numbers and am on to dreaming up a new idea!

 

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography. Additional products include fine art stock imagery, prints and gift items

Paddlefest

Today turned out to be a pretty big day, the furthest from home I’ve been in a long time. After years of hoping to photograph the Paddlefest whitewater festival in Buena Vista, I finally made it today. I awoke at 5:00 a.m. and it was foggy and cold so I was tempted to just give it up and go back to bed, but I thought it was now or never and just headed out the door. My gear was all packed from the night before because I knew it would be a tough thing to do in the dark in the morning.

Collegiate Peaks

Collegiate Peaks

Fog and rain greeted most of my drive across the high plateau from Lake George to Hartsel, but a glorious view greeted me as 285 began to descend down into the Arkansas Valley. The massive Collegiate Peaks range came into view and was well worth the pull over at at the scenic overlook for some shots. The deep snow on the high peaks was literally glowing in the early morning light. I lingered and shot several angles and different peaks from various vantage points before continuing down the mountain to the turnoff to Buena Vista

As I pulled into town I spotted just the thing I was looking for at the moment. My early departure didn’t leave me time to drink my usual morning wake up beverage, so when I saw the Brown Dog Coffee Shop I knew it would be a good place to hang out and wait for the whitewater events to start. Love the place and it will now be my favorite coffee shop west of the Continental Divide!

Soon I decided to head on down to the river to find a parking place and scope out the event vantage points. Rain was falling so I was glad that I had brought along my Aquatech rain cover for the camera and a rain poncho. Down by the river tents were being set up with the necessary music and PA gear. I inquired and they told me the main festival was up the trail. Checked that out and decided to head back to the car to wait out the rain and kill the time before the events.

Paddle-Boarders

Paddle-Boarders

9:00 a.m. finally rolled around so I put the rain cover on the camera and headed back down to the river for the first kayak events at the eddy near the tents. As I was shooting the kayakers, I noticed some mountain bikers on the opposite side of the river high on the ridge, so after the first set I found the bridge and crossed over. According to the maps it looked like the Whipple Trail would afford me a good view of the high peaks to the west. True enough, if it weren’t for so many clouds it would have been awesome. On my way back across the bridge I received my good fortune for the day as a group of paddle boarders were headed down a very scenic segment of the river, all lined up in a very cool row! That will be my money shot for the day I am sure!

When I got back to the river I got the opportunity to photograph some rafters and the group of paddle boarders were getting ready to tackle some whitewater. A few more captures and I was ready for the drive home, which turned out to be an adventure in itself. It was snowing on the high plains, which is way more excitement than I need when I am driving my summer car. Fortunately I drove out from under the storm and it turned into rain in the lower elevations.

Finished up the day with some awesome Japanese Teriyaki chicken and am looking forward to processing almost 300 images and writing an article about the festival for the Examiner. The festival was great and I love Buena Vista and the Collegiate Peaks. I seriously need to think about moving over to that side of the Divide!